Monday, February 9, 2009

The changing face of business for generations to come

Like everyone else in America, I am looking at our current expenses under a microscope. Do I really need to keep buying organic milk? How about getting a new bookshelf to replace the old one? Did I turn out all the lights before leaving? Do we have enough for a down payment for a new car? Can I put away money into my children's savings accounts this month? All of these are dilemmas that our family faces on a daily/monthly basis. It is a sign of the times that I make these little decisions each day, and in the bigger picture, how it effects our bottom line. We do have dreams and hopes for a better future, but above all, our family is making these decisions together - as a team.
This past Sunday, I was watching a segment on "Sunday Morning," interview with the CEO of Japan Airlines Haruka Nishimatsu. He is a CEO, in this downturn economy, who is taking out his own perks and pay and making his salary even less than the pilots that fly his planes. So unlike our American culture of having CEO or President of the company as the major breadwinner, with tons of perks of bonuses and commissions. In business school, I remember learning about people like Nishimatsu and how they managed people and how they increased work ethic through teamwork. I know that "teamwork" seems to be the topic of many American boardrooms today - but is it not a part of the American culture by far. When CEO's of banks come to Washington with tin cups wanting money for their businesses and turn around and spend millions of dollars on personal office upgrades there is no teamwork on that at all.
As a Christian looking at all of this, and as an American looking at our culture, there is not alot of balance, or even teamwork. The Christian side of me is thinking how appauling it is that American CEOs of banks are spending taxpayer money on bonuses while that money could be used to generate more jobs at the bank, and the American side of me thinks that the CEO's probably had a contract that had to be fulfilled with regards to bonuses per year - reason why they are working there. But, ethically, should we all work better as a team. I am not saying that all of these companies should operate as communist nations where everyone gets paid the same - but that the big guy needs to look out for the little guy more often. We need more compassion, more sympathy, more willing to sacrifice ourselves for others - more teamwork. I think that it is something not everyone is quite getting. Jesus did say it quite clearly "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God."
10 to 20 years from now, businesses will be different. I don't know if they are going to be working with the same motivational tools as we are today, but there will be change. Maybe there will be more Nishimatsu's as CEOs for companies and teamwork will not be just talk, but something that is actually implemented.

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